Hayden Carruth

(August 3, 1921 – September 29, 2008 / Woodbury, Connecticut)

On Being Asked To Write A Poem Against The War In Vietnam


Well I have and in fact
more than one and I'll
tell you this too

I wrote one against
Algeria that nightmare
and another against

Korea and another
against the one
I was in

and I don't remember
how many against
the three

when I was a boy
Abyssinia Spain and
Harlan County

and not one
breath was restored
to one

shattered throat
mans womans or childs
not one not

one
but death went on and on
never looking aside

except now and then
with a furtive half-smile
to make sure I was noticing.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Rookie - 12 Points Jules Rabin (1/3/2010 7:17:00 PM)

    Well, history
    Here we are, Hayden, at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sizing up Yemen as I write. I came on this poem of Carruth on my way to Google up information about The Week of the Angry Arts that took place in NYC around 1967, a big event that engaged scores and maybe hundreds of writers and artists in public readings, displays, and performances through a full week. Now here in snowbound northern Vermont, some of us are toying with ideas about artists here collaborating on protest with pen and brush against our rising habit of war. (Report) Reply

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